The County Hurdle gives punters a chance to back a longer priced horse with a realistic chance of coming in. 28 horses have been entered and there is by no means a prohibitive favourite. We take a look at a number of the runners set to face the 2m1f in Race 23 of 28…

Seven-year-old Filey Bay has certainly taken to his new training setup as he’s two from three with a second place thrown in since moving from Declan Wall to Emmet Mullins. Even in that defeat he only was taken down by a length. His Racing Post Rating has significantly increased following that transfer and the 409 day break. A worthy favourite at 5/1 but tough one to back considering it is a field where surprises can most certainly spring up.

Most Cheltenham punters will know all about Sharjah, who has twice finished runner-up at the Festival. Second to Epatante in the Champion Hurdle back in 2020 and was six-and-a-half lengths behind the great Honeysuckle a year later in the same race. He is the oldest horse in the race but will surely get plenty of support from the Cheltenham faithful. You can’t rule him out. We are 8/1

Shahjah is not Willie Mullins only option as Hunters Yam (11/2) is also very much a live contender. Four wins from his past five has certainly caught the eye and that last run was the best we’ve seen. Still young at only six, this gives the Irish trainer two very good chances to win this race.

Gin Coco (17/2) has yet to finish outside the top two but like many of the contenders in this race, it was his last outing that was the most impressive. Beaten by I Like To Move It into second place but looked pretty strong in doing so.

Dan Skelton will have a good option in 8/1 shot Pembroke who certainly will attract support. Two wins from his past three similar to Filey Bay and that run at Ludlow in December was noteworthy. All five horses at the top of the market have plenty of reason to think they have every chance.

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